NFL Week Six: Pressures, Hurries, and Knockdowns

Justin Smith@smittstylesCorrespondent IOctober 18, 2009

CHICAGO - OCTOBER 04: Alex Brown #96 of the Chicago Bears sacks Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions on October 4, 2009 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Lions 48-24.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Some interesting developments in the last couple of weeks. I was quite ill, which is why I missed a couple articles, but should be no problems going forth.

Without further ado, here are my opinions regarding week six in the NFL.


San Diego Chargers

With the Denver Broncos' somewhat surprising surge to the top of the AFC West pack, the Chargers, with their typical slow start to the season, are in jeopardy of falling far behind in the race for the divisional crown with a loss on Monday night.

With the AFC West in shambles prior to the season, it was widely accepted that if San Diego simply suited up this season, they'd walk away with the division title. The Broncos had different ideas than those of their critics, and are enjoying a defensive renaissance.

Kyle Orton is exactly what Josh McDaniels tried to tell everyone he was over top the Cutler din, and though it pains me to say it, the Broncos look like a team built for the long haul right now, especially with the emergence of talented rookie Knowshon Moreno. 

The Chargers, at 2-2, welcome the Broncos, at 5-0, to Qualcomm in San Diego in the Monday Nighter. It's hard to say that the fifth game of a team's season is must-win, but consider that if the Broncos win and go to 6-0, they will be 3 1/2 games up on the Chargers with 11 to play. In a 16-game schedule, that's a hefty hill to climb.

That's not a stranglehold by any means, but this Denver team looks more poised and solid than the one that collapsed down the stretch to allow an undeserving Chargers team to sneak into the playoffs last season.

The pressure is on San Diego to come through in the clutch at home and avoid falling into a massive hole in the AFC West.

To expect mediocrity for the first half of the season to magically transmogrify into a playoff berth two seasons in a row is simply too much to ask. The Chargers need to help themselves out and not hope for another epic collapse.

Washington Redskins

The 'Skins, in a quirk of scheduling you've probably read about many other places, face yet another winless team this weekend in the Kansas City Chiefs. This is their sixth consecutive game against a winless team.

This Washington squad was supposed to compete for the NFC East crown, or at least make things interesting. Instead, they barely compete in any game they are in, and make things interesting only to their fans. And not in a good way.

Jim Zorn has the hottest seat this side of Satan, the offense is stagnant, the defense isn't playing up to their talent level, and the team consistently gets down for their competition.

They've already given the Lions and the Panthers their first wins of the season, narrowly missed doing the same for the Rams and the Buccaneers, and now play the hapless Chiefs at home on Sunday.

If the 'Skins lose to the Chiefs on Sunday, Zorn should be fired immediately. That would be three winless teams in five weeks that beat the 'Skins, and the only team that looks more uninspired than these guys are, unfortunately, my Oakland Raiders.

The 'Skins are under pressure to prove to their fans that they're better than they've shown, and that Daniel Snyder didn't yet again waste a bunch of money on players that suddenly forget how to play football the minute they walk into the Nation's Capital.


  • Jeremy Maclin is a playmaker. Watching this kid in Missouri, you knew he was going to be special in the NFL. I don't know how my Raiders cover both him and DeSean Jackson on Sunday. Scary.
  • Despite the Titans' struggles, don't expect to see Jeff Fisher's name on any hot-seat lists anytime soon. Possibly ever. He's the longest tenured coach in the NFL and his track record shows far more success than failure.
  • In a league that's usually fraught with parity, there are some seriously horrendous teams this year. The Chiefs, Rams, Browns and Bucs are terrible as expected, the Panthers, Titans, Redskins, and Texans are all far below expectations, and the Raiders don't resemble their talent level on paper when they take the field.
  • Imagine if that bounce in the Cincinnati game goes the other way. The Bengals are 5-0, but the Broncos are still 4-1. Amazing.


The Titans are Good

Okay, at this point the goodwill they built up with their wonderful season last year needs to go by the wayside. Each week we hear that the Titans are a good team that just hasn't gotten it going, and each week we see them play terribly.

Now Jevon Kearse is injured, their secondary is depleted, Kerry Collins looks his age, Chris Johnson isn't fooling anyone, and this team is being read and dictated to every step of the way.

A defense that lost Albert Haynesworth and Jim Schwartz is feeling the push. Ranked at or near the bottom of the league in every significant defensive statistic, it's safe to say nobody is afraid of the Titans anymore.

Yet, they are consistently spoken of and ranked as if they are still an elite team, despite being winless. Well, I personally think that the Titans are not a very good team right now, and their record reflects that.

Regardless of past performance and pedigree, what counts is on the field, and they haven't been on it much this season.

The Cowboys are Good

Barely escaping with a hard-fought victory over a poor Kansas City team, even though it was on the road, is not very impressive.

The Cowboys have put together one complete game this season, and that was against the Bucs. So far they've beaten the Bucs, the Chiefs, and the Panthers, who were all winless when they played the Cowboys and have a combined record of 1-14.

Granted they did give the Giants all they could handle in JerryWorld, and they fought against the Broncos at Mile High, but they've shown that they will play down to their weaker opponents and then cannot get up high enough to beat their stronger opponents.

Tony Romo has been incredibly inconsistent, and the defense, especially the secondary, has let them down multiple times this season. The Cowboys can be a good team, possibly an elite team, but they need to show up more often on both sides of the ball.

Romo needs to stop trying to make the big play every snap, and play within himself. When he does, he's nearly unstoppable and makes some big plays. When he doesn't, he throws poor passes, makes bad decisions, and costs his team games.

The Cowboys are still a decent team, but not good at this point. If I were a Cowboy fan I'd definitely be nervous about the fact that a possible Super Bowl contender can't easily beat the teams they're supposed to roll over, and then subsequently can't thus far beat teams with a winning record.

By the end of the season, I can see the Cowboys in the playoffs making noise or I can see them at home golfing. This team is tough to read, but they're certainly not as good as expected right now.


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